BUFFALO, N.Y. – May 4, 2015 –Visit Buffalo Niagara is recognizing those who help make tourism a $1.6 billion industry in Erie County all this week, as part of a nationwide celebration of travel and tourism.
VBN held its fifth annual Travel and Tourism Beacon Awards Luncheon at noon today. The awards pay tribute to superior service throughout the industry, from volunteer docents to hotel general managers.
Restauranteur Russ Salvatore will receive the Tim Russert Award and an induction into the Buffalo Ambassadors Hall of Fame. The award is given to an individual in the local hospitality industry each year who embodies the enthusiasm the late Russert had for his hometown of Buffalo.
Other 2015 Beacon Award recipients include E. Frits Abell, Executive of the Year; Sharon Cramer, Volunteer of the Year; William Tuyn and George Grasser, Buffalo Ambassadors of the Year; Sandra Starks, Tourism Employee of the Year and Charlie Roesch, Restaurant of the Year. In the lodging category, VBN is honoring Robert Karmazyn, Lodging General Manager of the Year; Blake Bednarz, Lodging Manager of the Year and Mark Linde, Lodging Employee of the year. Craft Beer tourism is 2015’s tourism initiative of the year. Norm Page wins the Bring It Home – Sports Award, and Dr. Venkat E. Krovi wins the Bring It Home – Conventions Award.
The event is in conjunction with National Travel & Tourism Week, which runs from May 2 to 10. Tourism in Erie County generated over $196 million in sales tax revenue in 2013, bringing $500 in tax annual tax relief to each county household, and employs more than 29,000.
“It’s inspiring to see how much of greater Buffalo’s renaissance – from our new hotels and restaurants to our booming craft beer scene and redeveloped waterfront – is related to tourism,” VBN President and CEO Patrick Kaler said. “We are thrilled that the tourism industry is playing such an integral role in the rebirth of Buffalo and are bringing that significance to light during National Travel and Tourism Week.”
In addition, the public is welcome to an open house at the new Buffalo Niagara Visitor Center at Clinton and Washington Streets downtown, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. all of this week. Several Buffalo structures will be illuminated red, the color of tourism, throughout the week: The Peace Bridge, Electric Tower, Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, Burchfield Penney Art Center and Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens.
As Erie County’s convention and visitor’s bureau, Visit Buffalo Niagara is working hard to promote the region’s renaissance, including:
– Attracting meetings and conventions to Erie County that produced $120 million in economic impact in 2014
– Spreading the word about Buffalo’s renaissance by facilitating over 100 stories in out-of-town newspapers and websites.
– Recently launching a new website that captures Buffalo’s revitalization through compelling imagery and refreshed storytelling.
– Redesigning the annual VBN touring guide as the first “user generated” issue, featuring third-party reviews and quotes on nearly every page from media and the traveling public who have praised Buffalo.
– Launching a new summer social media campaign, #Buffalove15, at the end of May that encourages locals and visitors alike to share the best of Buffalo on Twitter and Instagram.
Visit Buffalo Niagara sells and markets our assets and attractions to visitors outside of the Buffalo Niagara region as a convention, tourism and leisure destination for the economic benefit of the community.